PITTSBURGH -- The disappointing news that first baseman Corey Hart was lost for the season with another knee injury caused only a ripple in the Brewers' clubhouse on Friday. Some players knew days earlier because they'd been in contact with Hart. For others, the news simply fit the narrative of a frustrating season.
"I don't think guys just roll with it when it's a player they like as much as Corey," manager Ron Roenicke said. "But there's so much happening this year, it's like, 'Just another one.'"
Roenicke shrugs for emphasis. It has been that kind of year for the Brewers, who lost three first basemen to season-ending injuries (Hart, Mat Gamel and Taylor Green), played without third baseman Aramis Ramirez for a month and are currently without left fielder Ryan Braun, who could remain sidelined through the All-Star break because of a right hand injury.
Those injuries do not completely explain the team's woes, but they have undoubtedly contributed to a club that entered Saturday 14 games under .500 and 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Pirates.
"You don't want guys saying, 'Oh no, Corey's down, we're in trouble,'" Roenicke said. "It's rather than just go, 'Whatever.'"
Teammates Braun and Jonathan Lucroy were among the players who knew well ahead of Friday's announcement that Hart was lost for the season.
"I feel for him, personally, because he's one of my closest friends on the team," Braun said. "I know everything he has gone through and how frustrating the process has been for him. Obviously, it affects us as a team because, No. 1, if he comes back, it makes us better, and No. 2, with his pending free agency, maybe we trade him and get a significant package back for him. So nothing good comes from [his setback]. First and foremost, I feel terrible for Corey."
Said Lucroy: "It's a tough thing, but we need to move past it and guys need to step up. All around, it's been a tough battle, but we need to keep battling. You sort of keep your head up.
"We are playing hard every day. We're not winning every day, but we're playing hard and we expect to be successful. But at the same time, we have to be realistic in that we don't have all of our weapons. We need guys to step up in place of the guys who are down."